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NEW COVID VARIANTS

8th July, 2024 Health

NEW COVID VARIANTS

Source: IndianExpress

Disclaimer: Copyright infringement not intended.

Context

  • The onset of summer 2024 has seen a rise in Covid-19 cases globally, driven by new variants FLiRT and LB.1.
  • The variants are causing increased infections in the US, UK, and Singapore.

Details

Details of the New Variants

  • FLiRT Variants:
    • Composition: Includes KP.2, JN.1.7, and other variants beginning with KP or JN.
    • Origin: Descendants of the JN.1 variant, prominent in the US during late 2023 and early 2024.
    • Prevalence: Account for over 60% of Covid-19 cases in the US, with KP.3 alone responsible for 33.1% of infections by early June 2024.
    • Symptoms: Fever, cough, fatigue, and digestive issues.
    • Concerns: Higher transmission rates and immune evasion.
  • 1 Variant:
    • Mutation: A mutation of the FLiRT group.
    • Prevalence: Responsible for 17.5% of Covid-19 cases in the US as summer began.
    • Transmission: Highly transmissible, potentially more infectious than its predecessors.

Impact of the New Variants

  • Transmission and Severity:
    • Increased Transmission: Both FLiRT and LB.1 are more easily spread than earlier variants.
    • Immune Evasion: Can infect vaccinated individuals and those with prior infections.
    • Increased Hospitalization: Rise in emergency room visits and hospitalizations in affected regions.
  • Global Spread:
    • US: Significant increase in cases and hospital visits, with Covid-19 deaths rising by 14.3% in recent weeks.
    • UK and Singapore: Notable uptick in cases and hospitalizations.
    • India: Detection of KP.2 and KP.1 variants.

Summary of COVID Strains identified till date

Variant Name

Lineage

Country First Detected

Detection Date

Key Spike Mutations

Transmissibility

Immune Evasion

Severity

Alpha

B.1.1.7

United Kingdom

Sep 2020

N501Y, 69-70del, P681H

Increased

Moderate

Increased

Beta

B.1.351

South Africa

May 2020

K417N, E484K, N501Y

Increased

High

Increased

Gamma

P.1

Brazil

Nov 2020

K417T, E484K, N501Y

Increased

High

Increased

Delta

B.1.617.2

India

Oct 2020

L452R, T478K, P681R

Highly Increased

Moderate

Increased

Omicron

B.1.1.529

Multiple countries

Nov 2021

S371L, G446S, Q493R

Highly Increased

High

Variable

Mu

B.1.621

Colombia

Jan 2021

R346K, E484K, N501Y

Moderate

High

Moderate

Lambda

C.37

Peru

Aug 2020

G75V, T76I, L452Q

Moderate

Moderate

Moderate

Epsilon

B.1.427/B.1.429

USA

May 2020

L452R, W152C

Moderate

Low

Low

Zeta

P.2

Brazil

Apr 2020

E484K

Moderate

Moderate

Moderate

Eta

B.1.525

Multiple countries

Dec 2020

E484K, 69-70del

Moderate

Moderate

Moderate

Theta

P.3

Philippines

Jan 2021

E484K, N501Y

Moderate

Moderate

Moderate

Iota

B.1.526

USA

Nov 2020

E484K, D253G

Moderate

Moderate

Moderate

Kappa

B.1.617.1

India

Oct 2020

L452R, E484Q

Increased

Moderate

Moderate

KEY POINTS

  • Alpha Variant: Originated in the UK with increased transmissibility and severity.
  • Beta Variant: Identified in South Africa, known for high immune evasion capabilities.
  • Gamma Variant: First detected in Brazil, it has both increased transmissibility and immune evasion.
  • Delta Variant: Emerged in India, highly transmissible, and associated with higher severity.
  • Omicron Variant: Notable for its high transmissibility and significant immune evasion, with variable severity.
  • Mu and Lambda Variants: Originating from Colombia and Peru respectively, both have moderate transmissibility and immune evasion.
  • Other Variants: Include Epsilon, Zeta, Eta, Theta, Iota, and Kappa, each with varying degrees of transmissibility, immune evasion, and severity.

Sources:

IndianExpress

PRACTICE QUESTION

Q: The emergence of the FLiRT and LB.1 variants highlights the evolving nature of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the continuous need for adaptive public health strategies. Discuss. (250 Words)